Ward 8 – Michael Polensek Responses
Bike Cleveland Cleveland City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Michael Polensek
Council Ward 8 Candidate
Q. What roles do you think city council can play in making cities safe, accessible and friendly for biking?
A. By continuing to support bike friendly road reconstruction projects and continuing education for both bicyclists and motorists.
Q. Funding for bikeways and other bicycle improvements and programs in Cleveland is currently derived from a mix of local, regional, and federal grants. Do you support an increase in dedicated funds in the City of Cleveland capital budget to install a safe, connected network of bike facilities?
Q. Do you have ideas for securing other funding for biking projects in Cleveland?
A. In light of continuing cutbacks on federal and state levels it is an ongoing challenge to secure adequate funding. We probably need to look to private funding sources – but even those are being stretched further than ever. However, when new projects are designed such as South Waterloo Road, in my own Ward 11, we insisted that there be a dedicated Bike lane which was installed from East 152 Street to East 185th Street.
Q. In January 2012 the City of Cleveland’s Complete and Green Streets Ordinance went into effect. The ordinance requires implementation of sustainable policies and guidelines in all construction projects within the public right of way. What will you do to ensure that the city incorporates Complete and Green Streets policies and practices into road projects within your ward? How will you measure success?
A. As I indicated, we have implemented bike lanes. However, the majority of the roads are not wide enough to identify a specific bike lane and so we need to be flexible and creative on projects. We will measure success by the number of bicyclists using the roadways and pathways in the community.
Q. In what ways can enhanced bicycling facilities and opportunities benefit your ward and the city as a whole? Are there any specific projects that you’d like to see accomplished?
A. Obviously, additional biking facilities will bring people into our community and in the City. In my own Ward, I am working with ODOT and the City’s Planning Dept to connect Euclid Avenue at Highland/Nottingham Road north to the Lakefront.
Q. Cities across the United States are installing protected bicycle lanes (a.k.a. cycletracks) to create a stress-free biking environment and to encourage “interested but concerned” people to ride a bike. Do you support the installation of bike infrastructure like buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and bike boxes on Cleveland streets? YES/NO
Q. Are you in favor of Bike Boxes (i.e. former shipping containers converted to bike parking) being placed in a parking lane on city streets?
Q. In just about every neighborhood throughout the city, one of the top concerns is drivers driving too fast, aggressively, and not safely sharing the road with people on bikes. What ideas do you have to calm traffic and make our neighborhoods safer and more comfortable in which to ride a bike? Feel free to talk about particular problem spots in your ward.
A. Obviously, we need more traffic enforcement and I am hoping that the mobile traffic cameras just purchased can be utilized more in the neighborhoods – especially in our secondary streets to slow down traffic. However, at the end of the day – you can only legislate good behavior to a certain point. We all have to look at how we drive. In addition, I have seen some bicyclists who have not helped the cause in the way they disregard traffic signals and signs.
Q. According to the 2012 Census almost 28% of Clevelanders do not have access to a car, how would you go about re-examining road projects to take into account the transportation needs of all city residents, improve safety, and enhance the livability of Cleveland neighborhoods?
A. This is something that should be an ongoing effort between City Planning, City Works and City Council. Again, as we do projects we need to make sure there is a bike and public transportation component that we might be able to allocate funds to. I think we al have to realize that we have tremendous limitations due to the lack of funding not ideas. Many times difficult decisions must be made. If funding was no issue we could have rebuilt roads and created bike friendly streets all over the city.
Q. What do you think is the number one risk to people on bikes both in your ward and the city as a whole? What have you done/will you do as an elected official to remedy it?
A. Motorists being pre-occupied probably going too fast and the conditions of the road surfaces which is of great concern to me. If it is difficult for a car to drive a street – I can only imagine how difficult it must be for a rider on a bike or motorcycle. We need more assistance out of the State and Federal government to help with road improvements.
See responses from all candidates at BikeCleveland.org/I-bike-I-vote